T-Bone Steak Isn’t Emergency Food: 7 Things I Need People To Stop Doing In Bad Weather And Natural Disasters

November 5, 2012  |  
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As super-storm Sandy threatened the convenience and well-being of many East Coasters this past week, I found myself headed to the local Wal-Mart in the wee hours of the morning before the storm hit when I realized I didn’t even have the basics like milk, bread and juice.  Silly me.  Similar to the hysteria that Hurricane Irene caused last year, I witnessed all kinds of unnecessary behavior that many times just makes the situation worse than it has to be.  What is about weather emergencies and other potentially catastrophic events that brings out the crazy in people and makes them abandon all common sense? Here are just some of the predictable annoying antics of the public that I need to see come to a stop:

1.  Clearing the shelves at the supermarket knowing damn well you have a pantry packed full of food.
For the life of me I couldn’t understand why people were stocking their carts with chicken breasts, pork chops and ribs if there was the likelihood that they would have no electricity.  It’s as if people just want to be a part of the action.  What do you need with 20 boxes of fruit snacks?  That’s just being greedy and excessive.  If the world is coming to an end you’re going to need a whole lot more than a value pack of Fruit Roll-Ups and guess what?  Wal-Mart is probably one of the few things that will be still standing.  I would be more understanding if it wasn’t for my next point…


2.  Then running out to get bread the next day in the middle of the weather event.
After all that “shopping” these are the same people on the road when a weather emergency is in effect.  There are rivers flooding the city streets and you’re trying to drive your 1992 Cavalier to get a loaf of bread form the local bodega.  Looks like you better get to spreading that PB & J  between those Berry Berry Cool Fruit Roll Ups.  It’s like New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie said, you are putting first responders’ lives at risk because you have ants in your pants. SIT DOWN.

3.  News reporters finding the most ratchet person in the neighborhood to interview.
There is no reason that Antoine Dodson should have a Wikipedia page.  I guess we can thank the Gregory Brothers for this. You mean to tell me that out of everyone in the neighborhood to interview all you could find was a woman with a gold tooth talking about bronchitis and barbecue?  We have got to do better and stop allowing our crazy aunties and “don’t know how to act” cousins to speak to the media.


4.  Filming the event instead of running for cover or getting help.
This one really just applies to those of you who like to pull out your camera phone and film your fellow citizen getting jumped or wandering around on the subway tracks aimlessly while you scream for someone to help.  You do know your cell phone is useful for more than Instagram and Angry Birds, right? As much as we liked debating about the “Leon Spinx” school bus driver, I can’t help but notice that there was someone taping this instead of trying to intervene in some way.  You don’t have to play referee, but at least try calling for help. Why don’t you try dialing 911 instead of playing YouTube Tarantino in the hopes of ending up on WorldStar?


 5.  Thinking you and your car are indestructible.

It’s all fun and games until you’re cheek to cheek with your sunroof on the side of the road.  In no way do I make light of people who are harmed in car accidents, but I can’t help but wonder why some people think their cars can defy the laws of physics and allow them to safely drive 90 mph in 15 feet of snow.  If you aren’t plowing the block then you need to sit tight or get right with public transportation.


6.  Cleaning enough snow off your car just so you can see.

Speaking of snow, I can appreciate the Suburban owner who invests the time and energy to cleaning off their entire car so they don’t hit the expressway and leave me in my mid-size Sedan swerving to avoid the ice chunks that are flying off their roof.  But you geniuses in the snack-size Prius compact cars should really be ashamed of only cleaning a small donut hole in your windshield just so you can see.  You could probably sneeze on that car to get the snow off of it; stop the madness.


7.  Staying in your home when you were told to evacuate.

I can’t imagine the difficult choice of having to leave your home or risk losing your life.  Home for many people isn’t just where all of your material things rest, it’s where many families make memories.  But it’s not fair to put emergency personnel’s safety at risk as well as other members of your family because you don’t want your comfort inconvenienced.  Evacuation isn’t a guarantee that your home is about to be destroyed, it just means there’s a possibility that its conditions might be deemed unsafe, and that may be only temporary. Remember, the most important thing is to protect the safety of you and your family so you can live to make more memories.

What kind of nonsense have you witnessed in the event of an emergency?

Toya Sharee is a community health educator  and   parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping  young women  build  their self-esteem and make well-informed choices  about their sexual  health. She  also advocates for women’s  reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from  beauty to love  and relationships. Follow her on Twitter  @TheTrueTSharee or visit   her blog Bullets and  Blessings .


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